The Central Social Welfare Board was established in 1953 by a Resolution of Govt. of India to carry out welfare activities for promoting voluntarism, providing technical and financial assistance to the voluntary organisations for the general welfare of family, women and children. This was the first effort on the part of the Govt. of India to set up an organization, which would work on the principle of voluntarism as a non-governmental organization. The objective of setting up Central Social Welfare Board was to work as a link between the government and the people.

Dr.Durgabai Deshmukh was the founder Chairperson of the Central Social Welfare Board. Earlier she was in charge of "Social Services" in the Planning Commission and she was instrumental in planning the welfare programmes for the First Five Year Plan. Under the guidance of Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh, various welfare schemes were introduced by the Central Social Welfare Board.

The Central Social Welfare Board obtained its legal status in 1969. It was registered under section 25 of the Indian Companies Act, 1956

The State Social Welfare Boards were set up in 1954 in all States and Union Territories. The objective for setting up of the State Social Welfare Boards was to coordinate welfare and developmental activities undertaken by the various Departments of the State Govts. to promote voluntary social welfare agencies for the extension of welfare services across the country, specifically in uncovered areas. The major schemes being implemented by the Central Social Welfare Board were providing comprehensive services in an integrated manner to the community.

Many projects and schemes have been implemented by the Central Social Welfare Board like Grant in Aid, Welfare Extension Projects, Mahila Mandals , Socio Economic Programme, Dairy Scheme, Condensed Course of Education Programme for adolescent girls and women, Vocational Training Programme, Awareness Generation Programme, National Creche Scheme, Short Stay Home Programme, Integrated Scheme for Women's Empowerment for North Eastern States, Innovative Projects and Family Counselling Centre Programme.

The scheme of Family Counselling Centre was introduced by the CSWB in 1983. The scheme provides counselling, referral and rehabilitative services to women and children who are the victims of atrocities, family maladjustments and social ostracism and crisis intervention and trauma counselling in case of natural/ manmade disasters. Working on the concept of people’s participation, FCCs work in close collaboration with the Local Administration, Police, Courts, Free Legal Aid Cells, Medical and Psychiatric Institutions, Vocational Training Centres and Short Stay Homes.

Over six decades of its incredible journey in the field of welfare, development and empowerment of women and children, CSWB has made remarkable contribution for the weaker and marginalized sections of the society. To meet the changing social pattern, CSWB is introspecting itself and exploring new possibilities so that appropriate plan of action can be formulated. Optimal utilisation of ICT facilities will be taken so that effective and transparent services are made available to the stakeholders.